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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

How I Know I'm Getting Old...Or Patriotic, or Something

As far back as I can remember I've always had a respect for the American flag. That's not a bragging point or anything. Most of us were raised with the same kind of general respect.

You don't necessarily remember a specific time or place, but you just sort of know that your folks made you stand when the National Anthem was played. They (or your grandparents or kindergarten teacher) taught you to put your hand over your heart. Same goes for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Fast-forward to today. I'm over 30 now. And I can't say I have been demonstrably patriotic, beyond standing during the anthem, holding my hand over my heart, etc. By not demonstrably, I guess I mean I haven't really thought twice about any of it. I've done it because it was taught to me as the right thing, and it is routine.

Well, you may remember that I had to attend game five of the NBA finals here in Miami to do something of a celebrity watch.

Shortly before tip off I made my way out of the main press area and into the nose bleed seats where some NBA public relations folks and foreign press were seated, along with a ton of fans. So the anthem started and to my dismay most of the people around me remained seated. The NBA employees stood. Some of the fans stood. But a lot of the fans and most of the foreign press folks who were next to me remained seated. Some people even carried on conversations w/the folks next to 'em.

Is this a first? No, there are always a handful of numbnuts like this at every sporting event, concert, etc., but it is the first time I was bothered by it. I mean it really ticked me off to the point that I wanted to grab a few of 'em, shake 'em and say "Stand up, and show a little respect, ya bum!"

But, of course, thankfully I'm all talk when it comes to physically assaulting knuckleheads.

I don't know what the whole anger over the flag thing means. No way I'm turning political. Maybe my old age is coincidentally turning me into an active patriot, compared to the appreciative yet dormant citizen I've been all these years.

We'll see. Anyway don't expect me anytime soon to come out of the house in one of those American flag T-shirts, or leather jackets, or poofy gym pants and bandana a la Diedrich Bader in Napoleon Dynamite.


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  • I spend a lot of time in a foreign country, and the saying "the greatest country in the world" has new meaning. People should be patriotic because they get to live there, and Americans really take a lot for granted. Things like groceries that don't go bad in two days, power that doesn't go out all the time, streets that get fixed, and the list goes on and on. All the more reason to show some respect for the flag.

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